Is the suggested hold function the best strategy for video poker?
So many things are automated these days. We have automated teller machines (ATMs) and deposits/bills that automatically issue to/from our bank. Automatic doors open and shut for our convenience. Automated customer support reps ‘attempt‘ to solve issues for us. Obviously, some are more effective than others. But what about the auto-suggested “Hold” function found in most online video poker games?
Not all machines offer the auto-hold feature, but the majority of them do. For those who aren’t familiar with it, here’s how it works.
When a player inserts money, chooses their bet size and presses the Deal button, a poker hand appears on the screen. Of the cards on display, the machine will automatically place the word “Hold” over one or more of the cards. In theory, the cards being held are the most likely to result in a win. Thus the machine is suggesting the player merely press the Draw button to progress the game and receive their final hand.
As most strategically minded gamblers know, video poker is a game where employing the right decision-making tactics can significantly increase the theoretical return to player, or RTP. The big question so many players have pondered…
Does the Hold function imply the best video poker strategy?
Unfortunately, there’s no single answer to this question. The truth is, some do, and some don’t. The problem is that there are so many video poker manufacturers on the market. Myriad companies produce online video poker games, and just as many develop the physical machines found in land-based casinos. Whether the game follows optimal video poker strategy is up to the manufacturer of the game.
On the bright side, most machines do employ perfect strategy, especially in the online realm. There are more land-based games that do not follow perfect strategy. Casinos in Delaware, USA are notorious for delivering bad advice; or at least, advice that doesn’t follow the highest RTP strategy for video poker games.
Microgaming Video Poker Holds Perfect Strategy
I’ve played a good deal of software brands over the years, but more on Microgaming casinos than anywhere else. I’ll admit, I’ve developed a preference for the software and game variety. As such, I don’t have enough experience with any other brand to say 100% that their video poker games Hold with perfect strategy. But Microgaming‘s video poker variants do.
I began using perfect strategy with these games a long time ago, and the auto-hold has always matched up. The best video poker game, by RTP, is All Aces. Follow the game’s Hold advice and you’ll be playing with theoretical RTP of 99.92%. It may not be a positive expectation, but it’s as close as you’ll get without forcing your own brain to do all the work. Which brings us to…
Video Poker Without Auto-Hold
If you don’t mind a little mental challenge, look for games that don’t offer the auto-hold function at all. These are often (but not always, so be careful) the games where a player can gain an ever-so-slight advantage.
No video poker game with the potential for a positive expectation will provide player’s with easy access to an optimal strategy. If you have the patience and discipline for it, employing the best video poker strategy without automated assistance can deliver the highest potential for profit.